I have always wondered what it would be like to be immersed in a virtual world. The possibilities for the world’s design, its purpose, and even the way an individual presents themselves are endless. I dare say that many people would jump at a chance to dive into an immersive virtual world. Those looking for escape, entertainment, and even a casual social encounter would find a virtual space inviting. Could Oculus Rift be a step in that direction?
Social media has revolutionized the way people communicate with each other but it is still lacking. Friends and family could literally be on opposite ends of the Earth and still enjoy regular contact. However, all existing social media seem to suffer from some common ailments. Very often, communication is not conducted in real time. Instead, social media is more like a posting board one visits regularly to pick up messages that have been left. As a result, communication can be somewhat disjointed.
Video games might be considered a form of social media in its own right. More and more games are stressing cooperative play through online experiences. While there is a clear purpose involved in what gamers are doing, the game it self can be considered a form socialization because it takes place in real time with others.
Mashable has recently covered some articles on Oculus Rift. Based on the videos seen and articles read, I couldn’t help but think that Oculus Rift shows enormous potential to bring the virtual world of video games and social media together.
Oculus Rift appears to be a major step in the direction of virtual reality. It isn’t too far a stretch to think that a virtual reality can be designed for the purposes allowing people to socialize with physically distant friends and family in real time. Even with modern technology, the limitations of the virtual environment would be largely confined to the limits of imagination.
Given the proper set up, I can imagine a new form of social media taking off, leaving the likes of Facebook and Twitter looking like virtual ghost towns. Imagine the appeal of friends meeting up in a virtual world, each with there own avatar complete with environment to freely roam. It’s not quite the same as grabbing a bite to eat, but surely a virtual world would be outfitted with some manner of applications to entertain in both active and passive ways.
The videos associated with testing Oculus Rift also inspired another thought. Since the world is virtual, it can be based on a theme intending to attract people with shared interests. The immersive experience doesn’t necessarily have to be based on reality. Renaissance fairs and science fiction conventions are immensely popular. Oculus Rift could facilitate an environment that feels more complete and possibly entice those closet enthusiasts to done elf ears and explore their secret interests.
As said earlier, the limitations to a device like Oculus Rift will really be based on the limitations of imagination. It would really be up to online marketing companies to sell the merit of a new social media experience. Personally, I find the prospect very exciting, wouldn’t you?